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Emma Goldman - Adrift

government soviet economy country

Goldman was at first sympathetic to the new Soviet Union and its communist government. She became disillusioned, however, after witnessing the blatant disregard of civil liberties by Vladimir Lenin's (1870–1924) revolutionary government led by the Communist Party that banned all private property giving the government total control of the economy. By 1921 Emma fled the Soviet Union. She managed to obtain British citizenship by marrying a Welsh miner sympathetic to her plight. She spent the final two decades of her life traveling between England, Canada, and France, speaking out for her own humanist brand of anarchism.

Goldman wrote My Disillusionment in Russia in 1923 and published her autobiography, Living My Life, in 1931. By 1934 the political mood in the United States had changed as the fear of communism had declined. The aging Emma was allowed to return for a ninety day speaking tour. She lectured in sixteen cities, from New York to St. Louis. She spoke out against both German fascism (government marked by dictatorship, government control of the economy, and suppression of all opposition) and Soviet communism (government in which the state controls the economy and all property and wealth are shared equally by the people) to produce world opinion against them.

Goldman left the country as she had arrived, an anarchist and a radical who spoke on her own terms. Upon her death in 1940 at the age of seventy-one, the U.S. government granted permission for Goldman's body to be returned to the country for burial at Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.


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